by Debra Johnson, Published April 10, 2012
YPSILANTI - An Eastern Michigan University professor has partnered with a Michigan-based company to help commercialize "green" protective coating developed by his research team at the University.
Vijay Mannari, along with a group of students and other researchers at EMU's Coatings Research Institute, located in the College of Technology, have focused their efforts on developing sustainable polymers and coatings that use renewable sources.
The results of their hard work over the past seven years are six new patent-pending inventions. The coatings developed are designed to protect metal, wood, plastic and building materials, and are used on industrial products within the automobile, aerospace, transportation, packaging and building industries.
"Development of 'green' coating materials and technologies is more important than ever before, and the Coatings Research Institute has the unique capability to help the state and the country, through the innovation and commercialization of its in-house research," said Mannari.
One of the products Mannari's team developed is a chromate-free, anti-corrosive pretreatment for metals - basically a protective coating that inhibits rust.
"The product is an innovative system based on Sol-Gel technology that is much safer than existing products, yet comparable in performance," said Mannari.
This unique coating has the potential of replacing materials currently on the market that are based on hexavalent chromium, a proven carcinogen.
The team was recently awarded two grants by the Michigan Initiative for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, totaling $125,000, to help fund the commercialization of Mannari's inventions.
Mannari, along with Philip Rufe, a technology commercialization coordinator at EMU, will lead the initiative.
Mannari's group will take one of its coating innovations to the next level through a partnership with Plascore, Inc., a Michigan company that is eager to embrace sustainable "green" technologies by offering safer and greener products to its customers.
Plascore, Inc., with headquarters in Zeeland, MI, is a global manufacturer of honeycomb core and composite structures used in aerospace, marine, military, safety and transportation industries that utilize coatings on many of their products.
"We are very excited about our partnership with Plascore," said Mannari. "It will not only help bring new and safer 'greener' products to the market, but will also help propel Michigan's economy and provide great experience to our students."
Other green technologies Mannari's team is developing include "UV-curable" coatings (cured with ultraviolet light) made from soybean oil.
To learn more about the Coatings Research Institute and the College of Technology at Eastern Michigan University, please visit the website at http://www.emich.edu/cri/index.html.